TV Review: Hannibal, ‘Mukozuke’

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Hannibal is a series that has a high level of shock value. While, never “done for the sake of doing it” the visceral brutality of this series is one that makes you question how NBC gets away with airing a show of this nature.

Tonight, Hannibal may have outdone itself in terms of shock and gore.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

Last week we left Agent Beverly Katz (Hetienne Park) in a deadly confrontation with Hannibal Lecter (Madds Mikelesen). We all pretty much assumed there was no way she was making out of his basement/dungeon of doom alive.

But what no one expected was how the FBI would find her body.

Katz is discovered completely carved up, surgically sliced into layers (cut long ways) that descend in size. She is literally butchered and then encased in thick, clear, high density plastic packaging. The visuals are absolutely frightening — in particular the “cut” of Katz which is half her body, clothes perfectly in tact, eyes staring a hole through your soul as if she was still alive. Outside of Game of Throne’s brutal “Red Wedding” sequence, rarely has there been a time when television has made squirm.

God, Hannibal is such a brilliant show.

After the initial shock of Katz’s death, we are treated to the return of the always amazing Eddie Izzard as Dr. Able Gideon AKA the fake Chesapeake Ripper. Izzard’s affable yet soft-spoken demeanor makes him the perfect fit for a show filled with soft-spoken psychopaths. Tonight, he’s been converted from Season 1 “big bad” into the gatekeeper of Will Graham’s (Hugh Dancy) road to redemption or damnation. Gideon knows the full truth of who the real Ripper is and Will’s fate, in many ways, lies in his hands. And while Gideon is a straight-up murderous villain, he’s strangely sympathetic to Will, which comes into play at a crucial point at the end of the episode.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

Also returning for his extended guest run is Law & Order SVU’s Raul Esparza as the oily Dr. Chilton. One has to hand it to Esparza he really keeps ratcheting up the awesome in this character every time he appears on camera. Chilton’s such a duplicitous bastard and Esparza gleefully toys with the audiences and Will’s emotions and trust throughout the episode. Brilliant casting.

There’s also a big reveal of who Will’s copycat killer is. The actual revelation isn’t that spectacular, as this is a new character (played by young but veteran character actor Jonathan Tucker, who always seems to play a complete nut) who has not been given much, if any onscreen time; but what is spectacular is this copycat’s run in with Hannibal at the episode’s climax. No spoilers here, but you’re going to lose your mind with just how good their scenes together are.

Hugh Dancy was brilliant again tonight. It’s almost redundant at this point because Dancy is brilliant every week, but tonight he showed us a new, more evil side of Will that we really haven’t seen so far. We’ve mostly seen Will Graham the victim, the tortured soul — not man fueled by revenge. It was a really great performance by Dancy and the decision to show this side of Will was a bold move that totally paid off. One has to wonder what the consequences of Will’s actions tonight will be.

‘Mukozuke’ is another fine installment of Hannibal and this is the episode that’s laying the seeds for the thrilling finale that the show’s premiere episode hinted at in its opening sequence. There are so many questions that will be coursing through your brain at this episode’s end and that’s the beauty of Hannibal — it keeps you coming back for more.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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